The Green Inferno Movie Review
Written by Kelly Michael Stewart
Released by Open Road Films
Directed by Eli Roth
Guillermo Amoedo and Eli Roth
2013, 103 minutes, Rated R
TIFF premiere on September 6th, 2013
Lorenza Izzo as Justine
Ariel Levy as Alejandro
Aaron Burns as Jonah
Sky Ferreira as Kaycee
Nicolás Martínez as Daniel
Kirby Bliss Blanton as Amy
Magda Apanowicz as Samantha
Matías López as Carlos
It is amazing that it has actually been six years since Eli Roth has taken up the director's chair with Hostel Part II. He has hardly been invisible though, judging wet t-shirt contests in Piranha 3D, being the "Bear Jew" in Inglorious Basterds or producing other films (The Last Exorcism, Aftershock). So it was with much anticipation that Eli Roth had finally brought out his latest film The Green Inferno to premiere at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival's Midnight Madness program. Seeing everyone from Alexandre Aja, Lucky McKee to even Bobcat Goldthwait in the sold out audience, there was much anticipation to see what was up the sleeve to of this modern day maestro of horror.
The film starts in New York City, where a grad student Justine (Lorenza Izzo) is in her freshman year and is intrigued by the social justice movement on campus. She meets up with an activist group led by Jonah (Adam Burns). Jonah convinces the young group to travel down to a remote village in Chile, where an ancient tribe is completely cut off from the modern world. Their plan (and a pretty weak one at that) is to fly down and chain themselves to the bulldozing equipment and broadcast their locations via their smart phones for the world to see. It somewhat works and they manage to get on a plane back to America, but things go wrong and their plane crashes next to the very village they were attempting to save. The villagers mistake them for their enemy and proceed to put them all on the menu in every vicious way possible.
In many ways The Green Inferno was the most logical next film for Roth to make. The "torture porn" subgenre has come and gone, but Roth is known for such brutal imagery, he was the ideal candidate to bring back the cannibal film and he brings it back to the menu in a big way.
The big question when you hear "cannibal flick" and Eli Roth is how violent are we talking here? Well, Roth does the same thing as he did with Hostel and takes his time getting you to know the characters before the carnage begins. The dialogue can be a little wooden in places. I really didn't care for the characters or what was going to happen to them, but I got the feeling Roth wants us to have some perverse pleasure when the butcher knives come out later. The violent moments when things get started are fairly brief, but what you do see is some of the nastiest stuff you'll ever see on film. The village isn't just about cooking you; they want you to suffer brutally along way. It is vivisection with a cookbook.
One thing I am very happy to announce is there are no real-life on-screen violent deaths of animals, which unfortunately have tainted other famous cannibal films like Cannibal Holocaust and Cannibal Ferox. Humans are firmly on the menu in this one.
For those looking for a hidden social statement about the plight of the Amazon or tribal rights, you are looking at the wrong film. In fact, this is about as un-PC as you can get. The tribe is shown as sadistic cannibals and the protesters are portrayed as naïve tree-huggers that are over their head. The film isn't about political statements; it's about pushing buttons and giving you one hell of a ride. With Eli Roth's filmography, you are either on board with his style or you are not. There is no in-between, which is why his work is always talked about one way or another and you have to respect that.
Eli Roth's time in the jungle isn't over yet. It has just been announced that they are producing a sequel going to camera in 2014 called Beyond the Green Inferno, with his co-writer/producer Nicolás López (Aftershock) taking up the directing chair this time.
Welcome to the jungle indeed.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.